Octopus Hovertank

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  • Last Post 16 September 2017
Luxan posted this 16 September 2017

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Octopus Hovertank

Technology Base: Inner Sphere
Era: Age of War
Rules Level: Era Specific
Production Year: 2317
Equipment Rating: C/C-X-X-X

Mass: 50 tons
Power Plant: Nissan 215 Fusion Engine
Movement Type: Hover (Medium)
    Cruise Speed: 97.2 km/h
    Maximum Speed: 151.2 km/h
Armor: RHA Heavy Carbon-Duranium
Armament:
    1 Magna Large Laser Cannon
    2 20mm Machine Guns
    3 Hydra 55mm Rocket Launcher 10
Manufacturer: Grumman Industries
    Primary Factory: Terra
Communications System: TransComm 10
Targeting and Tracking System: TransComm DLW

BV: 569
Cost: 1,022,375 C-bills

=======================================================
Equipment                     Type                 Mass  
-------------------------------------------------------
Chassis/Controls:                                  12.5
Engine/Trans:                 Fusion               17.0
    Cruise MP:  9
    Flank MP:   14
Fuel:                                               0.0
Heat Sinks:                   8                     8.0
Power Amplifier:                                    0.0
Turret:                                             1.0
Armor Factor (BAR 7):         54                    2.5

                     Internal    Armor
                     Structure   Factor
    Front            5           14
    R/L Side         5/5         10/10
    Rear             5           8
    Turret           5           12

=======================================================
Weapons & Equipment                    Location    Mass  
-------------------------------------------------------
1 Large Laser                          Turret       5.0
2 Machine Guns                         Turret       2.0
3 P Rocket Launcher 10                 Turret       1.5
Ammo (Machine Gun) 100                 Body         0.5
Advanced Fire Control                  Body         1.0


Crew: 1 officers, 2 enlisted, 2 gunners
Cargo: None
Notes: None

Luxan posted this 16 September 2017

Overview:
When Admiral James McKenna intervened to stop the Terran Alliance Civil War,
his colonial marines deployed a few prototypes of a frightful new weapon, a so-
called "laser cannon." Vehicular-scale laser weapons had been introduced
several years earlier but previous models had limited range and were only
capable of moderate damage. They were viable secondary weapons but had not seen
widespread adoption. The new laser cannon could compromise even the heaviest
armor of the day in one shot and had an effective range of 450 meters. It was a
fearsome weapon for its time, and one that would continue to see use, largely
unchanged, for centuries.

Nearly a decade prior to the Civil War, the colonial marines had attempted to
fit prototype laser cannons on a handful of Merkavas. The new weapons proved
effective, but several limitations were noted. First, while the laser cannon
did not require ammunition, it did require an immense power discharge. The
only way to build up enough power to fire was to install complex, and temper-
mental, power amplifiers. Next, while the weapon itself was much lighter than
the Heavy Cannon it replaced, the massive heat dissipation system required
meant the Merkava's missile launchers also had to be removed, reducing overall
firepower. The laser cannon also had a slightly shorter effective range than
the Merkava's traditional main gun; a bad combination with the Merkava's low
top speed. The need for a combat vehicle dedicated to taking full advantage of
the new weapon was obvious. Just prior to the Civil War, Grumman Industries was
hard at work on a new prototype or just such a vehicle. The first of these
prototypes would see action in the Civil War and proved quite effective. After
the Civil War, when the Hegemony Armed Forces was formed, Grumman completed
development on the new vehicle. Learning from data recorded during the Civil
War engagements, several improvements were incorporated into the final
production models, making the Octopus Hovertank a true battlefield terror.

Capabilities:
Grumman Industries had produced the first Octopus prototypes on a very modest
research budget. However, with the notable performance of the prototypes and
with the new Director-General's massive increase in military spending, Grumman
found itself with a massive grant to finish development on the Octopus. With
these new resources, Grumman was able to improve almost every aspect of the
hovertank. The most important improvement was on the laser cannon itself. Early
prototypes of the weapon threw off an intense burst of thermal radiation when
fired, requiring a massive heat dissipation system to prevent the crew of the
firing vehicle from roasting alive. Through improvements in the optical
resinator and shielding, the waste heat generated was reduced by a third,
allowing the heat dissipation system to be similarly scaled down. Otherwise,
the laser cannon functioned just as well as the early prototypes.

Practically the first decision Grumman made when developing the Octopus was to
utilize a fusion power plant to avoid installing complex power amplifiers to
charge the laser cannon. However, the early prototypes used age old fusion
technology. Working with few constraints in their final phase, Grumman invested
in fitting the Octopus with a state of the art power plant. The mass saved from
downsizing the cooling system combined with the more efficient fusion
technology resulted in more than a 50% increase to top speed. Able to reach a
top speed over 150 kph, the new Octopus could outmaneuver almost any other
combat vehicle and run circles around traditional main battle tanks like the
Merkava.

Probably the least appreciated feature of the Octopus is, ironically, the very
source of its name. Early on, Grumman knew that the new vehicle would have to
be quick and agile in order to compensate for the shorter range of the laser
cannon when compared to the heavy ballistic cannons of the day. Grumman spent
most of their early efforts on developing a motive control system that would
provide both speed and stability. Ultimately they devised a system of
articulated repulsors that could flex away from the body of the tank for
extra stability, or be retracted to provide more inline acceleration. Many
observers of the system in motion found it reminiscent of an octopus darting
away underwater, which earned the new hover tank its name, despite the fact
there were only four of the articulated repulsor "limbs." In the final phase
of development this system was retained, but further refinements made the
system a bit lighter.

The final result was a fierce and aggressive hover tank. Its brutally effective
main gun could fire with impunity and its prodigious top speed and agility
meant it could strike without warning. Unlike many other tanks of the day, the
Octopus had no difficulty engaging foes at close range. In addition to the
laser cannon, it also carried a pair of machine guns to engage infantry. Also,
with the weight savings of the final chassis improvements, the production model
also carried an array of 30 rockets. While these were single-use weapons and
not particularly accurate, they could deliver a devestating blow if used in an
opportune moment. Virtually unlimited travel range and an ammunition-free main
gun might have given the Octopus phenomenal endurance. However, it turned out
to be something of a glass cannon. Even though armor improvements were made
with the final version, there was a limit to how much armor as its frame could
bear. Ultimately, it could only shake off a few hits before needing to retreat.
It also remained vulnerable to kill shots by the heavy cannons of the day as
well as its own laser cannon. Still, no combat vehicle of the day was able to
completely shake off hits by those weapons. Octopus crews would need to rely on
its prodigious speed and agility to avoid taking damage.

Variants:
The original Octopus prototypes utilized older, less efficient technology. With
a heavier chassis and a much heavier cooling system for the prototype laser
cannon, the prototypes fell just short of a 100 kph top speed. This was still
good for a combat vehicle of the day, but not sufficent given the limited armor
coverage. The prototypes also lacked the rocket launchers of the final
production version.

 

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